Stuck at a redlight, I looked around to take notice of my surroundings. I couldn’t help but notice the loner walking down the sidewalk. Dressed in shabby jeans and a jacket, I thought to myself “He must be hot. It’s nearly 85 degrees outside, and incredibly humid.” As the light turned green and I went along my way, I began wondering about him.
What’s his name?
Does he have a place to call home?
He sort of looks like the guy at my local farmer’s market – unshaven, unkempt. Is it because he chooses to live that way – or because he has no other option?
Or is it simply that outward appearances don’t matter to him?
And then I think … it must take an awfully mature, secure, and confident man to walk around town without really caring about his appearance. As much as I’d like to not care about my own appearance – I can’t help but get sucked in to wanting to look like what society considers beautiful.
It struck me, as I watched him walking all alone, that if Jesus walked around our streets today, he’d probably look a lot like that guy. Long tangled hair, and a long tangled beard to go with it. A face so covered in dirt you can hardly see the sparkling eyes. Jeans that have probably been around for many years, with many owners – or at least have that appearance.
I know nothing about this man. Not his name, his past, present, or future. I wasn’t even on the same side of the street as he was. And yet just a tiny glimpse of him affected me in such a major way. Seeing him turned my thoughts away from all the many things I need to do and toward the One that beckons me. I’ll probably never see him again – but today, he was my glimpse of God. A small picture of Jesus.
Walking. Down the street. Alone.
And it makes me wonder – if even just for a moment – am I doing all I can to truly follow in the footsteps he’s left behind?